The Texas Supreme Court docket upholds the Texas masks mandate ban
Texas governor may ban mask mandates, at least for now, after the state’s Supreme Court on Sunday approved a motion on the state side to suspend an appeals court ruling that would have allowed schools to make face-covering mandatory.
The decision is temporary and only lasts until the state Supreme Court, whose judges are elected and are currently all Republicans, makes a final decision. The Dallas Independent School District and the San Antonio Independent School District each said Monday that despite the ruling, they would continue to need masks for the time being.
“The response from the City of San Antonio and Bexar County to the Texas Supreme Court continues to stress that the governor cannot use his powers of emergency to suspend laws that give local authorities the flexibility to act in an emergency,” Andy said Segovia, San Antonio city attorney, said in a statement on Sunday. “His power to suspend is intended to facilitate, not prohibit, measures.”
Michael Hinojosa, the superintendent of the Dallas district, held a press conference on Sunday night following the announcement of the state’s Supreme Court ruling, saying that after consulting with lawyers, he plans to continue the district’s masking mandate – but that could change, depending on the situation on the changing legal situation.
“Until there is an official order from the court that applies to the Dallas Independent School District, we will continue to have the mask mandate,” said Hinojosa.
He added, “We will comply if the court order applies to us.”
The escalating battle comes as schools open or prepare across the country, with tens of millions of children under 12 who are ineligible for vaccination. Young people’s hospital admissions have increased as the highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus has spread.
Some Republicans have introduced masking rules as a violation of parental rights, while many Democrats believe it is a public health issue.
Late Friday night, after Governor Greg Abbott’s ban suffered at least three legal setbacks, Attorney General Ken Paxton said he would take the matter to the state’s Supreme Court. The setbacks affected areas with Democratic leaders, rampant coronavirus cases and rising hospital admissions.
Texas vaccinations are lagging behind many other states, and coronavirus deaths are rising, albeit at a much slower rate than in previous waves, as the majority of the state’s oldest and most vulnerable residents are now vaccinated.
A state district judge granted Harris County, which includes Houston and several school districts across the state, temporary permission to implement safety measures, including masking requirements.
In San Antonio, the state’s fourth appeals court dismissed Mr. Abbott’s appeal against a previous judgment that maintained a school mask mandate for Bexar County.
Shortly after the San Antonio Court of Justice pronounced its verdict, the Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas dismissed Mr. Abbott’s challenge to a county public school, college, and corporate county clerk’s challenge.
The officer who issued the order, Clay Jenkins, praised the verdict. “We should all be together; Team Human v Virus, ”he wrote on Twitter. “I will continue to follow the doctor’s advice and work with everyone to defeat # COVID19.”
On Sunday evening, following the ruling by the state’s Supreme Court, Judge Jenkins wrote on Twitter that the court had “ruled closely”. “We are not going to stop working with parents, doctors and schools,” he continued, “to protect you and intend to win this hearing.”